A kick in the ASKA
I am an entertainment lawyer representing talented artists in the Metroplex, including ASKA. I have rarely seen an article as inappropriate, unsupported, and unprofessional as Michael Corcoran's personal attack upon ASKA and the metal-music genre in general, in the April 11th Observer ["1996 Dallas Observer Music Awards"].

Although your introductory remarks to the article stated that you were "trying to sum up in a few paragraphs what the list of nominees in the following pages represent," it appears as though Corcoran seized upon the forum to espouse his narrow-minded views of metal music generally, rather than contributing any meaningful information of what ASKA represents. In fact, Corcoran's discriminatory, tasteless, and stereotypical remarks of metal bands fail to apply to ASKA in any respect, something that Corcoran may have learned had he actually researched his topic.

Rather, ASKA is drug-free, hard-working, and committed to success. Further, Corcoran obviously wrote his personal views without ever attending an ASKA show. I would dare Corcoran to attend their Welcome Home show on June 22, 1996, at The Rock in Deep Ellum and not become totally captivated and awestruck by the band's unparalleled stage presence.

If Corcoran had taken a moment to interview the band as a competent reporter, he would have learned that they are currently overseas touring the Far East--including Korea, Japan, and Hawaii--with the U.S. military, bringing rock and roll to our men and women facing life-threatening risks daily, rather than lounging around writing unsubstantiated opinions about people they don't even know.

It is unfortunate that while ASKA is spreading their music and high-energy optimism to our troops worldwide, they are getting slammed in our own hometown by an incompetent reporter, who would rather bandy slanderous comments about their music in general without taking the time to truly learn what they represent.

Rather than catering to a narrow sliver of the music industry today, Corcoran needs to realize that this is America in 1996--an America where music is as varied as its people, and where a band can say what they want, wear what they want, and sing what they want, and they will be respected for standing up for their beliefs and not wavering like a candle in the wind to the next short-lived popular theme. Rather, ASKA represents hard work, dedication, and a group of talented, honorable musicians who play what they believe and believe what they play.

As ASKA nears signing with a major recording company, it is unfortunate that the press in its own hometown has not realized their shining potential.

Finally, Corcoran's lambasting of ASKA is singularly inappropriate in your Music Awards article. Conceptually, it should be an honor to be nominated by the Observer, and ASKA was sincerely thankful for same. But then, Corcoran ripped away any luster from the nomination by his conversion of the nomination article to satisfy his personal agenda. Rather than honoring the nominees and their hard-earned success, your contributing writer twisted his responsibility to hollow the meaning of the Observer's music awards.

Paul C. Webb

Teen beating
Can one of you at the Observer use your connections to arrange for Seventeen magazine to interview Robert Wilonsky? ["1996 Dallas Observer Music Awards," April 11]. I think he is suffering from a case of "teen-is" envy. The fact that Rhett Miller was interviewed by Seventeen, although a humorous anecdote to his career, is really not a crucial part of the history of his band, the Old 97's. Yet Wilonsky never fails to mention that interview in any article written about the band. Anyway, an interview in Seventeen is no great feat. Now, if it had been Sassy...

Anne Haluska

Skinned alive
My name is Gene Wallin, and I am president of the ASVA Dallas--a nonracist, nonpolitical skinhead group. Recently, I've noticed some of your articles just throwing the term skinhead around as meaning "Neo-Nazi Bonehead" ["Mouse," April 4].

The truth of the matter is that no true skinhead can be racist. Without the Jamaican culture, skinheads would not exist. It was their culture, mixed with British working-class culture, that made the skinhead movement what it is.

I am not alone in this way of thinking; in fact, most of the skinheads you see on the streets are actually non- or anti-racist. Most of the idiots out there committing hate crimes are just rednecks who listen to White Coward Rock and Roll and have nothing to do with the punk or oi music scenes other than ruining them for everyone else. And yet these leeches are always on the news and in the papers getting far too much recognition, and believe it or not, endangering the lives of every true skinhead.

The problem is that most people have never heard of nonracist skinheads, even though the first skinheads were nonracist and even black. So let's stop these parasites from endangering innocent people's lives, and let society know racist meatheads aren't skinheads. Help stop the lies; start telling the truth.

Gene Wallin